The final walk through is not something sellers necessarily need to be anxious about. The final walk through is NOT a second inspection. It is also not a time where buyers can request repairs of items they missed during their original inspection. Instead, this event serves as a final opportunity for the buyer to make sure the home is still in the same condition as when they last saw it and all contractual repairs are complete.
It is normal for stress and anxiety to build towards the end of the home selling process, especially when moving out of the home and cleaning at the same time. There are so many moving parts to this situation and now is the time to stay extra laser focused on crossing the finish line without a hiccup.
When is the final walkthrough?
Usually immediately prior to the closing. We will work with the buyer’s agent to schedule the final walkthrough. We have seen walkthroughs scheduled as early as a week before closing, but conducting an early walkthrough presents the risk of issues popping up before the closing.
Related Reading: Steps to Sell a House
How long does a walkthrough take?
The duration of a walk through generally depends on the size of the home, the extent of negotiated repairs, and how long the buyers take to determine all is well. It could be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
Related Reading: We are Under Contract: Now What?
Who attends the walkthrough?
Only the buyer and the buyer’s agent should attend the walk through. Unless previously scheduled with the seller, the buyer is not permitted to bring relatives or contractors into the home.
If the buyer can’t personally attend the walkthrough, they might send a representative or an inspector to determine that all repairs have been completed properly. This is not an additional inspection, but just a verification of repairs. The buyer’s agent will always be present.
Common issues that pop up at walk through
The negotiated repairs have not been done or are not completed satisfactorily
All repairs should be completed at least 3 days prior to closing. The buyer will then personally inspect the negotiated repairs during the walkthrough.
Items conveying with the home are missing
Please leave all items that convey with the closing as negotiated in the contract to buy and sell. As a rule of thumb, all items permanently attached to the wall remain with the home unless they were expressly excluded in the contract.
Items not conveying with the home have been left in the house
Please let our team know if you intend to leave anything not included in the contract so that we can get approval from the buyer to leave items. This even includes home repair items like spare tiles, paint and carpet. Make sure all trash inside the house and in the yard is removed. The day of closing is generally not a good time to deal with any last-minute issues.
The home is not clean
The contract stipulates that the home will be broom clean. While “broom clean” is a very subjective level of clean, buyers are generally okay with some things not being perfect. Most buyers will get upset about trash that has been left (unless the trash pickup is the next day and all the trash is in the trashcan), filthy toilets, caked on food in appliances etc.
New damage to the home
The buyer might find new damage to the home that happened during the move out. Common complaints are scratched walls or large holes in the drywall from TV brackets removal. Sometimes a pipe will burst during a cold snap just before closing.
Seller not being out on time
The contract stipulates the buyer is owed a certain amount of money per day if the seller has not vacated the premises at time of closing and the buyer cannot take possession.
Replacing items in the home
You are not permitted to replace items that are supposed to convey with the home without notifying the buyer. We have heard from other agents that sellers have taken their high-end refrigerator and replaced it with a cheaper version before closing.
Related Reading: Preparing Your Home To Sell
There are a few options to resolve damage that occurs before closing:
Immediate repair, replacement, or remedy of the situation.
This depends on the issue at hand. If it is just a matter of having some items removed that remained on the property, then this can be taken care of very quickly. But not all issues are an easy fix.
The seller can offer a dollar amount to the buyer. Important: this will have to be discussed with the lender. It could potentially require a new closing disclosure, trigger a new TRID 3 day review period, and delay closing.
Seller provides funds into an escrow account that will be paid out as soon as the contractor provides an invoice and the buyer approves the release of funds. Depending on the amount and title company, they might require 1.5 times the estimated amount in escrow. Remaining funds are credited back to the seller once the invoice is paid.
This happens rarely and is certainly a last resort. But a closing can be delayed until the complaint has been resolved.
How does the walkthrough work if the seller leases the home from the buyer post-closing?
The buyer will do a walkthrough in this situation as well. We recommend that the seller document the condition of the home as a regular tenant would do. When the seller vacates the home, the buyer will do another walk through with the seller to ensure that no additional damage has been done. Any necessary repairs are deducted from the deposit that the seller has provided to the buyer. Utilities should be transferred to the buyer’s name on the date the seller vacates the property.